One of my favorite controversialists is back, Bob Woodward, with his sidekick Carl Bernstein. Sunday in "The Washington Post," they wrote that Richard Nixon was more hideous than we have heretofore known. The 37th president conducted five wars while in office, according to the boys, and those do not even include his minor fracases, the Cold War against the Soviet Union and the Vietnam War.
I say Woodward is a controversialist. You might recall his controversial "interview" with CIA Director Bill Casey conducted on Bill's deathbed when no one was watching. It made it into Woodward's book "Veil," saving its author from the embarrassment of admitting that Bill had kept Woodward utterly in the dark about Iran-Contra and so much else during their more conventional interviews earlier. This time, Woodward somehow circumvented Bill's CIA guards, his doctors and nurses, his wife and daughter — one of whom was in the hospital room at all times — to get his incomparable interview. Moreover, Bill had completely lost the power of speech, his face being a mask of terrible deformity, as his friend Bert Jolis reported within days of the so-called interview. Woodward overcame every hurdle to extract from the dying man a confession of involvement in Iran-Contra about which Woodward knew nothing while writing the book. Possibly, he had disguised himself in Bill's hospital room as a cockroach.
Some of the responses to my column last week, titled "Immoral Beyond Redemption," prove that Americans have been hoodwinked by Congress. Some readers protested my counting Social Security among government handout programs that can be described as Congress' taking what belongs to one American and giving to another, to whom it doesn't belong — legalized theft. They argued that they worked for 45 years and paid into Social Security and that the money they now receive is theirs. These people have been duped and shouldn't be held totally accountable for such a belief. Let's look at it.
The Social Security pamphlet of 1936 read, "Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States Government will set up a Social Security account for you. ... The checks will come to you as a right." (http://www.ssa.gov/history/ssb36.html). Americans were led to believe that Social Security was like a retirement account and that money placed in it was, in fact, their property. Shortly after the Social Security Act's passage, it was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, in Helvering v. Davis (1937). The court held that Social Security was not an insurance program, saying, "The proceeds of both employee and employer taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like any other internal revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way." In a 1960 case, Flemming v. Nestor, the Supreme Court said, "To engraft upon Social Security system a concept of 'accrued property rights' would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands."
Don't you find it odd that the word extremism seems to apply only to conservative Republicans? Terminology often drives political discourse and those who control the terms often determine the outcome.
Establishment Republicans have too often been uncomfortable in their own skin. When they win elections, they sometimes seem unsure of what to do next. Democrats never seem to have this problem. They operate according to their core convictions and are never considered extreme. Instead, they are moderate, even normal. When Republicans stick to their convictions, they are branded with a scarlet "E."
Last week, President Obama said "the private sector is doing fine." This was not reassuring to those of us who suspect the Democrats haven't the first idea what "private sector" means.
He did not help matters by becoming lachrymose over the suffering of public sector employees:
"Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. ... And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments ..."
During the summer of 2009, conservative activists turned up the heat on Democratic politicians to protest the innovation-destroying, liberty-usurping Obamacare mandate. In the summer of 2012, it's squishy Republican politicians who deserve the grassroots flames.
In case you hadn't heard, even if the Supreme Court overturns the progressives' federal health care juggernaut, prominent GOP leaders vow to preserve its most "popular" provisions. These big-government Republicans show appalling indifference to the dire market disruptions and culture of dependency that Obamacare schemes have wrought.
How much power does the president actually possess?
That is a question at the heart of most debates about the federal government. Declaring war, writing executive orders, legislating, allocating taxpayers' money and even influencing what your children learn and eat are just a very small sample of subjects hotly under dispute right now.
LONDON -- One of many things left out of the film "The Iron Lady" was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's warnings on the effects a single currency would have on the economies of European nations. Thatcher's premonitions place her among the great political prophets of all time.
On the single currency, Peter Oborne, a columnist for the London Daily Telegraph, writes, "Mrs. Thatcher foresaw with painful clarity the devastation it was bound to cause. Her autobiography records how she warned John Major, her euro-friendly chancellor of the exchequer, that the single currency could not accommodate both industrial powerhouses such as Germany and smaller countries such as Greece." Thatcher predicted the currency would harm poorer countries because it would "devastate their inefficient economies."
I watched the Wisconsin returns on MSNBC Tuesday night, and it came right down to the wire between "the Democrats were outspent 7-to-1" and "Republicans are stripping union rights!" As we go to press it's still too close to call.
President Obama wanted to go to Wisconsin, but he just didn't have time. He's been doing so many campaign fundraisers lately he barely has time to play golf.
They really outdid themselves. In Wisconsin and across the nation, public school employee unions spared no kiddie human shields in their battle against GOP Gov. Scott Walker's budget and pension reforms. Students were the first and last casualties of the ruthless Big Labor war against fiscal discipline.
To kick off the yearlong protest festivities, the Wisconsin Education Association Council led a massive "sickout" of educators and other government school personnel. The coordinated truancy action — tantamount to an illegal strike — cost taxpayers an estimated $6 million. Left-wing doctors assisted the campaign by supplying fake medical excuse notes to teachers who ditched their public school classrooms to protest Walker's modest package of belt-tightening measures.
My newly released book, "The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama's War on the Republic," picks up where my previous book "Crimes Against Liberty" left off, chronicling President Obama's record since mid-2010, and it's not pretty.
I firmly believe that Obama is heading this nation toward financial catastrophe, is greatly undermining our national defenses, the Constitution and the rule of law, is severely damaging our energy industry and our energy independence, is dangerously expanding government and smothering the private sector and small and large businesses, and is polarizing this nation in a way that we haven't seen in many decades, along racial, gender and economic lines.
Benjamin Franklin, statesman and signer of our Declaration of Independence, said: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." John Adams, another signer, echoed a similar statement: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Are today's Americans virtuous and moral, or have we become corrupt and vicious? Let's think it through with a few questions.
Suppose I saw an elderly woman painfully huddled on a heating grate in the dead of winter. She's hungry and in need of shelter and medical attention. To help the woman, I walk up to you using intimidation and threats and demand that you give me $200. Having taken your money, I then purchase food, shelter and medical assistance for the woman. Would I be guilty of a crime? A moral person would answer in the affirmative. I've committed theft by taking the property of one person to give to another.
If the polls are right, the vote next Tuesday in Wisconsin on whether to recall Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators could amount to a redial of their original victory. Voters who first elected the conservative Walker on a promise to fix the state's dismal economy and crushing debt appear ready to reaffirm their judgment.
They would be making the right decision given the results Gov. Walker appears to have produced.
The Obama campaign's early attempts to attack Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital or present him as too extreme to be president have not worked out all that well so far. The early stumbles have created a flurry of commentaries wondering what's wrong with the team that performed so flawlessly in Election 2008.
The answer may have nothing to do with the Obama campaign and have everything to do with the fact that Romney appears to be a tougher target than anticipated.
Six-term entrenched incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is attacking his conservative challenger, Dan Liljenquist, over his alleged support for tax hikes in Washington. My sides ache.
Liljenquist has never voted for federal tax hikes or massive entitlement spending or multibillion-dollar bailouts or serial debt-limit increases in Washington because he has never served in Washington. Never. Hatch, by contrast, has spent the last 36 years racking up a Big Government record that cannot be whitewashed away.
Wisconsin Democrats, Washington elite and insiders, and liberal special interests have joined together to fight for the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Tuesday's election. But this past Friday, when I saw them also send in the big gun — former President Bill Clinton himself — against Gov. Walker, I knew I had to enter the ring, too.
The Los Angeles Times reported last Thursday: "Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Thursday that Clinton would be campaigning with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett as he looks to unseat Gov. Scott Walker in next week's recall. The former president will take part in a rally with Barrett, according to the Barrett's website."
On Sunday, Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the battleship USS Missouri at the end of ceremonies marking the unconditional surrender of Japan and the formal end of World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur spoke for a world weary of war and hoping for peace: "Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always."
That prayer was not answered as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and a host of regional and tribal conflicts have preserved war, not peace, as the means by which too many attempt to settle their differences.
Did I waste my time last Sunday? In the morning, I was reading "The New York Times," acquainting myself with precisely how the rich and famous live. The editors of the Times chose this story for its front page, so I figured they thought it important. It involved the Romney family and someone called Jan Ebeling. It turns out I could have spent my time otherwise.
On Sunday morning, the syndicated columnist George Will appeared on ABC News' "This Week" and, though I failed to watch it, he ruminated over Mitt Romney's fundraising and those donors whom he cultivates. George noted one donor in particular, Donald Trump. He called Trump a "bloviating ignoramus." That was not the end of it. Trump detected George's rude utterance somehow and leapt to Twitter, where he twitted — I presume that is the verb — that "George Will may be the dumbest (and most overrated) political commentator of all time." What an exciting exchange of ideas!
The gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin next week is important as an imperfect test case to indicate how Democratic propaganda will work against facts this election year.
Liberals are usually the ones who arrogantly throw around the charge that Republicans and conservatives are fact- and science-challenged and averse to reality. But their claim itself is based on nothing but their generic, nonfactual presuppositions, whether on "climate change" or same-sex unions.
An election almost as important as the presidential election will be held next Tuesday, and conservatives aren't making a big deal of it, just as they didn't make a fuss over the 2008 Minnesota Senate election as Al Franken stole it from under their noses.
(Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Minnesota has a reputation for clean and fair and good elections. We've got 4,100 precincts run by volunteers. They do a good job, and we thank them.")
The public sector unions are trying to oust Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office for impinging on their princely, taxpayer-supported lifestyles. If Walker goes down, no governor will ever again suggest that snowplow operators work when it snows. No governor will dare try to deprive public school teachers of their Viagra. Forget about ever firing self-paced, self-evaluated, unnecessary government employees.
Always leading the nation, California has already been bankrupted by the public sector unions. That's the country's future if Walker doesn't win, and it's not going to matter who's in the Oval Office.
Democrats know what's at stake. They're treating this election like the Normandy invasion. Meanwhile, Republicans are sitting back, complacently citing polls that show Walker with a slight lead.